I’d like to offer a glimpse into our neighborhood. We share a RARE neighborhood cohesiveness. We are as diverse as they come – age wise. We have a mix of condominiums, apartments, and retirement living towers and blocks of long-time, neighborhood family housing. What makes us a rare community is that we have met together and have one message, “Retain our Ashwood Park as open, green-space.”
In 1990, few probably expected the mega-growth that was going to take place in and around our neighborhood. As density has exploded, so has the need for open space. We are now mostly a neighborhood of vertical towers. This is our park, our “back yard.” On any given day you see baseball played at the diamond, Frisbee football, pee-wee soccer teams practicing and playing league games, dog walkers and people visiting with one another, Junior Wolverine football, picnickers and people flying kites…the list goes on. This is our community gathering place, a well-used, outdoor green space. I invite you to stroll across the well-traveled footbridge that neighbors young and old walk every day to get safely across NE 12th and then find a park bench and observe the activity. Two acres may sound like a large space, but after the 65 stall parking lot on the North end is full – life happens on the green.
I served on the Meydenbauer Bay Park and Land Use Plan Advisory Board. Our job was to CREATE more open, passive park space (through buying up apartments and other lots) not paving over park that was already there.
By 2013, obesity rates are on track to hit 42 percent. Please do not . Downtown Park (which is a 1.07 mile walk or 25 minute walk away) is our only other. There must be other locations, already zoned within the central business district where a built-up 35,000 sq ft community center and 15,000 sq ft fire station would be more suitable and user-friendly. In the long term plans for Bellevue – if taken, we will never get back the open, green space which keeps us a “city in a park”. We are neighbors that actively go outside to recreate with each other.
How often does a neighborhood area say, “Maintain it as it is and leverage your park money elsewhere?”
-- Betina Rothauser Finley, Bellevue